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Gregory F. Crowell


On May 24, 2005, New York Times writer Bernard Holland, reviewing a concert by the Grand Rapids Symphony in Carnegie Hall, wrote these moving, even prescient words: “I hope those supporters understand that [the orchestra’s] achievement is not playing in Carnegie Hall but playing in Grand Rapids. Music doesn't need any more international stars; it needs people who stay home and serve their neighbors.”


During this past decade, the musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony have indeed served their neighbors with stellar musical performances. Beyond the classical and pops performances, however, the musicians provide a vital educational service to our city, including everything from the Third Grade and Fifth Grade Concerts to collaborations with music therapists to help those with acute brain injuries.


The Grand Rapids of 2015 is no longer the Grand Rapids of 2005, however. While the population of the city is about the same now as it was then, the median per capita income has risen notably, and the increase in home sales has also risen dramatically. Grand Rapids is on the move.


The GRS website identifies the orchestra as “a community-supported orchestra.” It is indeed my hope that the community will rally around the orchestra during this of contract negotiations in order to encourage a fair and respectful settlement that will allow the orchestra to grow with the city while keeping it financially sound. Mr. Holland saw in our orchestra “a glimmer of hope for all of us in the music world.” Let us prove him right.


Gregory F. Crowell

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